How easy is this: installing additional drivers

One of the things that became very obvious while working with customers last week was that our support for adding drivers via ASI isgoing to be critical.  Here are two common scenarios I saw.

  1. Install the ASI server.
  2. Copy Windows XP to the server.
  3. Boot your test client using the CD.
  4. Install XP as your test OS.
  5. When the system reboots there is no network connectivity because a required driver is not included with Windows XP.

A slight variation was common...

  1. Install the client manually.
  2. Run a DTM job which installs XP and the test OS.
  3. After XP is installed, a device is not working because a driver is not present.

I knew the ability to install drivers via ASI was going to be critical to our customers because they are all testing pre-released drivers.  Also, they're often testing prototype hardware.  What I didn't anticipate is that it would be critical just to get their systems into a working state.  So, how easy is this problem to solve?  It's very easy. 

I have a system in which I've installed a new NIC recently because support for that NIC has been removed from Longhorn.  When I install XP on this system via ASI, it has no network connectivity because XP has no driver for the NIC.  Here is what I did to solve that.

  1. Downloaded the driver.
  2. Extracted the files and copied them to c:\asi\asiserver\drivers.
  3. Added this to the asi command in my DTM job "-adddriver \\asiserver\drivers"

Now when I install XP, ASI looks in the drivers directory and installs the drivers just as though they were on the XP CD.  Brilliant!

By the way, this isn't just a problem for old drivers.  As I mentioned earlier, support for my old NIC has been pulled from Longhorn.  If I had wanted to continue using that card I could have put the driver for it in the drivers share and ASI would install that driver automatically.  Finally, if I end up with other devices that need additional drivers in my lab in the future, all I have to do to make ASI install those drivers is put them in the drivers share.  Brilliant!